There's skepticism within the medical field regarding whether or not stretching prevents injury, but it's generally agreed upon the practice is part of a bigger wellness picture that can help keep your body healthy.
According to the staff at Camelback Sports Therapy in Phoenix, Arizona, stretching increases flexibility, which helps prevent injury during and after physical activity. It also maintains and increases joint mobility and range of motion over time.
It's important to treat stretching as a gentle routine to counterbalance the high-impact or high-intensity of workouts. Camelback Sports Therapy has a full-body stretching routine it recommends to patients to help ease pain or tightness and recovery from any type of activity.
Note: Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat two to three times on each side.
1. Hamstrings1 of 11
Place your left foot on a ledge or bench and keep both legs straight. You should feel a stretch in the back of your left leg.
To achieve a greater stretch, lean forward and keep your back straight until you reach the desired stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with your right leg.
2. Piriformis2 of 11
Lie on your back with both legs bent. Place your left ankle on your right knee.
With both hands, reach behind your right knee and gently pull toward your chest until a stretch is felt in the left leg and glute area. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat with your right ankle on your left knee.
3. IT Band3 of 11
Cross your left leg in front of your right. Reach down and to the left. Your knees may bend slightly.
The stretch should be felt in your right hip and the side of your right leg. Hold 30 seconds. Repeat with your right leg crossed over your left, reaching to the right side.
4. Quadriceps4 of 11
Bend your right leg and grab your right ankle or foot. Gently pull your heel toward your buttocks, keeping your knee pointed toward the ground until a stretch is felt in the front of the right thigh. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with your left leg.
5. Adductor5 of 11
Stand with your feet about three feet apart. Lean to the right and bend your right knee without letting it go in front of your toes. The stretch should be felt on the inner part of your left thigh. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side with your left leg bent.
6. Calf (Gastrocnemius and Soleus)6 of 11
Stand with your left leg forward. Keep your right leg straight and your heel on the ground. Lean forward until the stretch is felt in the back of the calf (gastrocnemius). Hold for 30 seconds.
To stretch the lower calf (soleus), slightly bend your right knee. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with your right leg forward.
7. Low Back (Hips to Heels)7 of 11
Start on your hands and knees and sit your hips back onto your heels. Keep your arms extended overhead. The stretch should be felt in your lower back. Hold for 30 seconds.
Note: Target each side by walking your hands to the left or right and then sitting your hips back. The stretch will be felt on the side opposite of where you placed your hands. Hold for 30 seconds each.
8. Deltoids8 of 11
Extend your right arm across your chest. Place your left hand on the outside of your shoulder and gently pull your arm across your body at shoulder level. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with your left arm.
9. Triceps9 of 11
Place your right hand behind your head. Place your left hand on your right elbow and gently pull down to feel a stretch in the back of your right arm. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with your left hand behind your head.
10. Pectorals and Biceps10 of 11
Grasp your hands behind your back. Elevate your hands to increase the stretch while keeping your back straight. Hold for 30 seconds.